If you're like me, you probably haven't worked with a ton of photographers in your life.
My first experience with photography was when my mom would dress my sister and I as twins (even though we are close to two years apart) and then hire a photographer to come to the house and make our family portraits.
I don't remember much about the photographers, but I do remember being less than thrilled when family-portrait-time came around.
In high school I had braces all 4 years. Let’s just say, I definitely didn't peak until my 20s.
When senior picture time was upon me, I went with the school recommended photographer because, hey, why not? I didn't know a good photographer from a bad one - and, although we weren't forced to use the suggested company, everyone else was doing it.
He had me pose in the exact same places as every other girl in my class.
There was no consultation, asking me for my vision. There was hardly any communication at all, actually. Though, I do remember him letting me know he could "only work with what he was given". Well, I’m still unsure of what that means, but I feel like it was intended to offend me.
Fast forward to my engagement pictures.
Nina and Alicia had not teamed up yet, and in fact, Nina was still living in Chicago. We scheduled the photoshoot for a time we would both be in Worcester, Massachusetts, around Thanksgiving.
My husband was in the Air Force at the time, so we wanted pictures with his uniform on. We were going for an old-time-sort-of look, but I wasn't exactly sure what that meant to me.
Nina ended up finding this gorgeous old church and a gigantic American flag mural for locations.
Believe me when I tell you, these were hands down the first pictures ever taken of me that I whole heartedly LOVED.
The work she put in, finding the perfect backdrops, meant so much to me. The photos were so much more meaningful and unbelievably custom. They were everything.
Since then, I have never had a need to find another photographer.
I can almost hear your thoughts as you're reading this, cursing me for being biased because Nina and Alicia are old friends. But you're wrong. I am for sure lucky that I knew these girls, but trust me when I say they treat ALL their clients like they are old friends.
Their meetings and photoshoots seems more like girlfriend brunch sessions with cameras (coffees and assorted breakfast treats often included).
One client told me the girls sent him beard cream because they saw it and thought of him. First of all, yes, beard cream, and second of all….no, I don't know any other photographers who would do something like that. But then again, why shouldn't they?
Why shouldn't a photographer send a card or a gift to a client during the stressful time of wedding planning? Why shouldn't a photographer treat you like a best friend? This person is sharing some of life’s most intimate moments with you, so they sure as heck better treat you like a friend!
Aside from obvious things like reputation and availability, there are a few other things you might want to consider when choosing a photographer.
Finding someone who does a pre-consultation is a huge opportunity to express the vision you have. Finding someone who’s style you like is pretty obvious too, but what defines style?
Photography reflects the eye, the perception, and the creativity of the photographer. Their style will be defined in the angles they choose, their compositions, their edits, the rules they follow or choose to creatively break, and the mood and tone they convey with their sessions with you.
So to conclude, find a photographer you vibe with. Find a photographer who listens to your vision and then takes it to the next level. Find a photographer who sends you beard cream.